Grammy Award for Best Progressive R&B Album

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Grammy Award for Best Progressive R&B Album
SOS by SZA is the most recent recipient
Awarded forQuality progressive R&B music albums
CountryUnited States
Presented byThe Recording Academy
First awarded2013
Currently held bySZASOS (2024)

The Grammy Award for Best Progressive R&B Album is an honor presented at the Grammy Awards to recording artists for quality works on albums in the urban contemporary subgenre within the R&B field. Honors in several categories are presented at the ceremony annually by the Recording Academy of the United States to "honor artistic achievement, technical proficiency and overall excellence in the recording industry, without regard to album sales or chart position".[1]

This category was one of the three newly created categories for the 55th Annual Grammy Awards as Best Urban Contemporary Album.[2] In June 2020, the Recording Academy announced a renaming and redefining of the category.[3] Its new name was Best Progressive R&B Album, with immediate effect, "to appropriately categorize and describe this subgenre. This change includes a more accurate definition to describe the merit or characteristics of music compositions or performances themselves within the genre of R&B."[4] Adding to this, the description of this category is now as follows: "[t]his category is intended to highlight albums that include the more progressive elements of R&B and may include samples and elements of hip-hop, rap, dance, and electronic music. It may also incorporate production elements found in pop, euro-pop, country, rock, folk, and alternative."[4]

According to Recording Academy president Harvey Mason Jr. in the same press release, these changes reflected "the current state of the music industry and how it's evolved over the past 12 months." In the weeks leading up to this decision, the label "urban" to indicate music made by African American musicians, songwriters and producers had come under fire.[5]

The award goes to the artist, producer and engineer/mixer, provided they are credited with more than 50% of playing time on the album. A producer and engineer with less than 50% of playing time, as well as the mastering engineer, can apply for a "Winners Certificate".[6]


Many African American musicians have disputed the use of the term "urban contemporary", seen as a "catchall for music created by Black artists, regardless of genre".[7] In a backstage interview given after his first Grammy win (for Best Rap Album), artist Tyler, the Creator stated that "[i]t sucks that whenever we — and I mean guys that look like me — do anything that's genre-bending or that's anything, they always put it in a rap or urban category", adding that "I don't like that 'urban' word — it's just a politically correct way to say the n-word to me".[8]


Frank Ocean was the first recipient in 2013
The Weeknd is the first artist to win this award twice, in 2016 and 2018
Beyoncé is the first female artist to win this award twice, in 2017 and 2019
Year[I] Performing artist(s) Work Nominees Ref.
2013 Frank Ocean Channel Orange [9]
2014 Rihanna Unapologetic [11]
2015 Pharrell Williams
  • Pharrell Williams, producer; Andrew Coleman, Mick Guzauski and Mike Larson, engineers/mixers
Girl [12]
2016 The Weeknd Beauty Behind the Madness [13]
2017 Beyoncé Lemonade [14]
2018 The Weeknd Starboy [15]
2019 The Carters Everything Is Love [16]
2020 Lizzo Cuz I Love You (Deluxe) [17]
2021 Thundercat It Is What It Is [18]
2022 Lucky Daye Table for Two [19]
2023 Steve Lacy
  • Steve Lacy, producer; Neal H Pogue and Karl Wingate, engineers/mixers
Gemini Rights
2024 SZA SOS [21]

^[I] Each year is linked to the article about the Grammy Awards held that year.

Artists with multiple wins[edit]

2 wins

Artists with multiple nominations[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Overview". The Recording Academy. Archived from the original on October 27, 2009. Retrieved May 14, 2011.
  2. ^ Gonzales, Erica (June 10, 2023). "The Grammy Awards Rename Their Urban Contemporary Category". Harper's Bazaar. Retrieved August 20, 2023.
  3. ^ Hissong, Samantha (June 10, 2023). "The Grammys' 'Urban Contemporary' Category Is Now 'Progressive R&B'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved August 20, 2023.
  4. ^ a b "The Recording Academy Announces Changes For 63rd Annual GRAMMYs, Releases Rules And Guidelines". The Recording Academy. June 10, 2020. Retrieved June 14, 2020.
  5. ^ Minelle, Bethany (June 8, 2020). "Republic Records drops term 'urban' to describe music made by black artists". Sky News. Retrieved June 14, 2020.
  6. ^ "Grammy Blue Book (edition 2021)" (PDF). The Recording Academy. June 10, 2020. Retrieved June 14, 2020.
  7. ^ Lewis, Sophie (June 11, 2020). "Grammy Awards renames controversial "urban" category". CBS News. Retrieved June 14, 2020.
  8. ^ Owoseje, Toyin (January 27, 2020). "Tyler, The Creator slams Grammys' 'urban' category as a politically correct version of the n-word". CNN. Retrieved June 14, 2020.
  9. ^ "Frank Ocean, fun. lead 2013 Grammy Award nominations". MTV. December 6, 2012. Retrieved September 11, 2020.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h "GRAMMY Awards Winners & Nominees for Best Urban Contemporary Album". The Recording Academy. Archived from the original on September 5, 2020. Retrieved September 5, 2020.
  11. ^ "56th Annual GRAMMY Awards Nominees". The Recording Academy. Archived from the original on December 9, 2013. Retrieved September 11, 2020.
  12. ^ Oldenburg, Ann (December 5, 2014). "2015 Grammy nominations roll out". USA Today. Retrieved September 11, 2020.
  13. ^ Billboard Staff (December 7, 2015). "Grammy Nominations 2016: See the Full List of Nominees". Billboard. Retrieved September 11, 2020.
  14. ^ Johnston, Maura (December 6, 2016). "Grammy nominations 2017: Beyoncé and R&B artists shine while rock suffers". The Guardian. Retrieved September 11, 2020.
  15. ^ "60th GRAMMY Awards: Full Nominees List". The Recording Academy. November 28, 2017. Archived from the original on December 2, 2017. Retrieved September 11, 2020.
  16. ^ Snapes, Laura (December 7, 2018). "Grammy nominations 2019: Cardi B, Kendrick Lamar and Drake lead the pack". The Guardian. Retrieved September 11, 2020.
  17. ^ Beaumont-Thomas, Ben (November 20, 2019). "Lizzo, Billie Eilish and Lil Nas X top 2020 Grammy nominations". The Guardian. Retrieved September 11, 2020.
  18. ^ "2021 GRAMMYs: Complete Winners and Nominees List". The Recording Academy. November 24, 2020. Retrieved November 24, 2020.
  19. ^ "2022 GRAMMYs Awards Show: Complete Winners & Nominations List". The Recording Academy. November 23, 2021. Retrieved November 23, 2021.
  20. ^ Moreau, Jordan (February 5, 2023). "Grammy Winners 2023: Full List". Variety. Retrieved February 8, 2023.
  21. ^ Willman, Chris (November 10, 2023). "2024 Grammys Nominations Full List: SZA Leads With 9 Noms, Phoebe Bridgers Follows With 7". Variety. Retrieved November 12, 2023.
  22. ^ a b "Beyoncé". The Recording Academy. Retrieved November 26, 2019.
  23. ^ "Steve Lacy Moya". The Recording Academy. Retrieved November 26, 2019.

External links[edit]